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European Solidarity with Chile – 1970s – 1980s

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Edited By Kim Christiaens, Idesbald Goddeeris and Magaly Rodríguez García

The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and the coming to power of a military regime led by Augusto Pinochet on 11 September 1973 drew worldwide attention towards Chile. The political repression shook the world and ignited one of the largest social movements of the 1970s and 80s. Hundreds of solidarity committees and a gamut of human rights and justice organizations mobilized thousands of people. This volume offers a compelling insight into the exceptional impact that the Chilean crisis made in Western and Eastern Europe. In doing so, it provides a new and broader perspective into the history of the Cold War, transnational activism, and human rights.
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Finland: Popularizing Chile

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Linda Heinonen

The military coup in Chile in September 1973 sparked popular protest in Finland, which led to an unforeseen and internationally acknowledged solidarity movement. After the crushing of Allende, the left-wing parties emphatically began to demonstrate their support for the democratic forces in Chile. The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran church also spoke out against the coup, and several political youth and student organizations condemned the repression that was taking place in Pinochet’s Chile.1 The sympathy for the people of Chile manifested itself especially in the high membership number and the active campaigning of the Finland-Chile Society, which had been founded as early as August 1973 but whose activities expanded dramatically in size and gained momentum after the events of September 1973.

This article aims to analyze the reasons why the plight of the Andean country provoked such a groundswell of protest in Finland in the 1970s, and why the solidarity campaigns turned into a popular movement that strove for change in Chile, as well as at home, and managed to rivet the attention of broader audiences. Firstly, this contribution will sketch the political atmosphere and the globalization of Finnish society in the 1970s. Secondly, it turns attention to the most visible agent of the campaigns in Finland, the Finland-Chile Society, before examining the ideological background and political conflicts of the solidarity movement. The final section focuses on national and international strategies and connections that were at work in the mobilization at the level of...

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